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Northport Police Sergeant Pushes for Animal Justice

Sgt. William Ricca helps inspire legislation to increase penalty for killing police dogs.

Northport Police Sergeant William Ricca recently inspired the creation of new legislation that would make killing a police dog a felony.

Currently, it is only a misdemeanor to kill a police animal in New York, but a class E felony to kill a service animal. Sergeant Ricca pointed this discrepancy out to Assemb. Andrew Raia, R-East Northport, following the shooting death of an FBI dog in Herkimer, N.Y., last week.

As a result, Raia joined with other representatives to present a bill on March 19 that would increase the penalty for killing a police dog to a class D felony.

“What police animals do for us every day is to be commended and honored," said Raia. "They protect citizens of the community as well as their human police partners. These animals put their lives on the line for the protection of others and the repercussions for injuring or killing one of these brave animals should be more severe than the current law dictates."

Sergeant Ricca knows the dedication of police dogs, and the pain of losing one, first hand. In the late 1980s, his own police dog, Sparky, died as a result of injuries sustained in the line of duty. 

Sparky had found and subdued four suspects following a robbery in Brooklyn in 1988. While trying to flee, the men punched and kicked Sparky, causing a broken rib to puncture his liver. Sparky had emergency surgery, but never fully recovered and later complications meant he had to be put down.

"You get very close to the dogs," said Ricca. "You take them home every day."

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Peaches March 28, 2013 at 05:03 PM
Penalty for hurting police dogs?…How about ANY dog!
FYI March 28, 2013 at 05:43 PM
Peaches, There are already penalties for hurting any dogs. Sgt. Ricca is looking to raise the penalties to a felony for police dogs which might have criminals think twice before attempting to hurt them. That is worthwhile...
Abt March 28, 2013 at 06:26 PM
"Peaches" is right on the money. Where is the legislation to deter law enforcement from killing someone's dog on their property, om a whim, and getting away with it?
good guy March 28, 2013 at 10:19 PM
Great job Bill
Kristie M March 29, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Any law to help and protect our animals is better than what we currently have! We shouldn't even have to lobby for something so common sense. Of course it should be a felony to kill or harm ANY animal. Starting with police dogs is great. Maybe it will get the ball rolling on NYS's lax, poorly enforced animal laws across the board. Other states are making huge progress and we're in the dark ages when it comes to protecting our animals.
gerard lofaro March 29, 2013 at 06:34 PM
sgt. billy ricca does a great , you go billy
christina March 29, 2013 at 08:01 PM
Everyone is correct here, srgnt ricca's push for this law should be on the front page of the main papers where it would get more publicity. Maybe we should all try to get this as much publicity as we can. I know i will.

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